Ford is arriving late to one of the hottest segments in the U.S. auto industry: subcompact crossovers. U.S. sales in the segment surged 30 percent to just more than half a million vehicles in 2016, and demand has remained strong in 2017, with January volume rising 21 percent.
Ford will formally offer a subcompact crossover when the North American version of the EcoSport goes on sale in early 2018. It was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicle was introduced in 2003 in South America. In 2015, Ford said it sold just more than 250,000 EcoSports globally in 140 countries, and it has delivered 1.7 million worldwide since its introduction. Here’s what people are saying about the EcoSport.
“Curiously, the EcoSport uses a side-hinge gate, rather than a liftgate -- the traditional means of opening a rear hatch. Toyota gave up on this configuration when redesigning the current RAV4, adjusting to the convention used by competitors. It would seem the EcoSport would be particularly well-suited for urban dwellers seeking a versatile, easy-to-park car, but the space needed to open a side-hinged gate can present challenges when parked curbside.”
-- Jeff S. Bartlett, Consumer Reports
“The EcoSport features styling cues that are a blend of the Ford Fiesta and Ford Escape -- which is sort of what the EcoSport is, really. The SUV's footprint is very similar to that of the Fiesta hatchback, but its greenhouse is a bit more upright and there's a tad more ground clearance to work with.
“Out back is a rear gate that swings horizontally like a door rather than vertically like a hatchback. Room for people and cargo and the general proportions of the EcoSport remind me of the Kia Soul, which will be one of its fiercest competitors. (Can you even consider cars this cute ‘fierce’?)”
-- Antuan Goodwin, Roadshow by CNET